Monday, March 9, 2009

Extra 8 - Mine Hunt

One of Gordon's passions, I think, is to find every abandoned mine in the Mojave Desert. [For a free Google Earth file of this route see: Extra 8: Mine Hunt]

We realized that it would be a fairly long exploratory ride so we took Gordon's "Hummer," and his visiting daughter, and set off in search of three mines over on the Gold Butte area: Grand Gulch, Savanic and Cunningham. All of which appeared close together on Google Earth.

Seeing Lime Kiln Canyon from the "cockpit" of a vehicle is completely different than with the wind in your ears on an ATV. If you haven't done it, try it!

Gordon had done the ride partially before, but ran out of time and never got to the mine. We took the same route which he took before, so went straight ahead when we reached the Mud Mountain Rd junction.

We ran across an odd water tower next to a large water tank. Gordon said that it was an attempt to make it an "artisan well"; where, with one smaller pipe inside a larger pipe, the water would "automatically" flow.

The Pakoon Basin road was by far the "less traveled" road and we missed it the first time through. When we arrived at a nice farm corral with a large water tank and farm pond. So... we retraced back to the turnoff and turned southeast.

The valley's we went through looked, for all the world, like "U" shaped glacial valleys; although, for the life of me, I had no idea that the Ice Age covered clear down here.

Then in one area, sharp eyed Gordon spotted the only real wildlife that I've seen in the area. Sure there are lizards and ground squirrels, and there was that solitary burrow who "found us"; but, this was a real live mule deer - weird looking but a deer none-the-less.

Worth seeing, yes; but not worth going to see.”
Samuel Johnson, Giant’s Causeway

At the "T" with Wolfhole-Grand Wash road, we turned west to Grand Wash but it rapidly turned south again and came to yet another "T". Grand Gulch Canyon to the left 2 miles and Grand Wash Bay/Mesquite to the right.

We knew exactly where we were because of our 3 GPS units; but, the road didn't seem to have a clue! It wasn't there! We went up the canyon, which we could see from the satellite, but even the hummer couldn't continue. So much for that!

Not wanting to re-do the road we had just come in on, we continued our "explore" and headed back along the "bay" road.

On the way back we ran across a man working a front-loader and Gordon stopped to commiserate. Apparently, "you can't get there from here!" We should'a gone up towards St. George and around the back side of the mountain range, in spite of what Google Earth showed!

We never found the mine but we did see a deer and the most unique cactus that I've ever seen in the wild. It looked like some nurseryman had grafted five or six plants together trying to show off. We made it back before dark, but just barely.


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